Cubs top Toreadors in girls’ basketball

Story and photos by Joe Randleman
Cubs top Toreadors in girls’ basketball

NEVADA - Defense did the job for No. 1 Nevada in its season opener versus Boone Nov. 23 at the Nevada High School Field House as the Cubs smothered the Toreadors in the second half to produce a 32-20 victory.

Nevada limited Boone to just six points over the final two quarters to pull away for a tough victory over a Class 4A opponent.

With key players just getting adjusted to basketball after being a part of Nevada’s state championship volleyball program, the Cubs were very rusty offensively against Boone. That combined with a gritty defensive effort by the Toreadors to make it tough for Nevada to find ways to score.

“We knew coming in our offense wouldn’t be clicking quite where it will be by midseason,” Nevada head coach Kristin Meyer said. “I thought Boone played fantastic on defense. They really pressured our guards. They have some very athletic and quick players and we struggled against that pressure a bit. I think once we get a few more practices under our belt we’ll a little more confident with the ball.”

The Cubs held a slim 17-16 lead following a Boone basket by Dianna Slight early in the third quarter. But then Nevada clamped down defensively as its combination of size and speed began to overwhelm the Toreadors.

Nevada held Boone without a point for the rest of the quarter. The Cubs went on an 11-0 run to push their lead out to 28-16 early in the fourth quarter.

“We knew defensively we needed to step it up,” Meyer said. “That would be our strong suit tonight.”

Nevada’s outstanding low post tandem of Lexy Koudelka and Kati Cassabaum combined for six blocks. Nevada also forced 21 turnovers and had a 24-17 rebounding advantage.

“We only had three practices where we were all together, so offensively we didn’t gel quite as much as we’d like to, but defensively we picked up right where we wanted to from last year,” Nevada guard Claire Ausman said. “I thought our defense was pretty good throughout the whole game.”

On offense Nevada found some success with its inside-outside game. Boone tried to concentrate its defense on slowing down Cassabaum and Koudelka down low, but excellent passing from Koudelka freed Nevada shooters for two timely 3-pointers during its big run in the second half.

“Our inside-out game, I thought, went really strong,” Koudelka said. “I think we need to work on our post-to-post passing underneath, but our inside-out passing I thought was really good.”

Koudelka finished with four assists. She also had five points, four rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

Ausman hit 2 of 4 3-pointers. She totaled eight points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.

Cassabaum led Nevada in scoring with nine points and she added five rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Fey finished with seven points; Abby Stephenson wound up with three points, five rebounds, two steals and one assist; Hattie Rhodes produced three rebounds and two steals off the bench and Izzy Kapustka chipped in two rebounds, one steal and one assist.

Slight and Madlyn Danner each scored five points for Boone in a losing effort.

Nevada 32, Boone 20

B 5 9 2 4 - 20

N 11 6 7 8 - 32

Nevada (32) - Claire Ausman 3-5 0-0 8, Abby Stephenson 0-7 3-7 3, Lexy Koudelka 1-5 3-4 5, Alli Fey 1-4 4-6 7, Izzy Kapustka 0-0 0-0 0, Kati Cassabaum 4-8 1-2 9, Amaris Hornbuckle 0-0 0-0 0, Hattie Rhodes 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 9-30 11-19 32. 3-point field goals (3): Ausman 2, Fey. Rebounds (24): Stephenson 5, Cassabaum 5. Assists (8): Koudelka 4. Steals (11): Koudelka 3. Blocks (6): Koudelka 3, Cassabaum 3.